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How to Play Against Spawn Guide by MagicTea

How to Play Against Spawn Guide by MagicTea

10 min

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We're sorry Spawn, but it's time to go back to Hell.

The assassin from hell, Spawn, is one of the several guest characters in Mortal Kombat 11. Fitting his fearsome appearance and gruesome backstory, Spawn is quite a powerful character and will put fear into opponents who didn't do a proper job of looking into the matchup.

To help us with that, MagicTea has made a guide that outlines what you should watch out for and how to beat it. Spawn is his latest main, yet MagicTea already has thousands of games with the character and used him in a competitive environment.

How to Play Against SPAWN guide by [ MagicTea ] | MK11 | DashFight


Spawn has one main variation with Charging Hellspawn, which takes 2 slots, and the remaining slot can be occupied by 4 major variations, let's take a look at all of them:

  • Charing Hellspawn - Spawn is known for his long-range strings and his ability to do manage, in big part thanks to this variation.
  • Leetha Glide - Gives access to more combo damage.
  • Soul Forfeit - Can lead to easy Krushing Blows.
  • Plasm Pool - Extra meter regeneration.
  • Raising Hell - Better low mixups.

Other variations are usually not as good because they either have hard counters or replace useful base moves.

Problem Moves

Now let's talk about how to actually counter Spawn's moves and strings:

  • 1,1 - This is a common string you will see a lot. Since it's +2, Spawn's d1 will come out faster than your retaliation, so your have to respect and block. If your character has a good backdash, you can backdash and whiff punish d1, but Spawn can punish this counter if he guesses right. The only other option is to flawless block the d1. This string has two followups:
    • 1,1,2 - Safe and allows you to take your turn.
    • 1,1,b2 - Plus on block but leaves Spawn too far away to do anything with it, and can be interrupted.
  • 3,4 - Signature Spawn string that gets used a lot. The string on its own is unsafe but Spawn can use an amplified projectile to make it safe, if he does not AMP it, you duck and punish. Since first hit of the string is a high, you can also low profile it with some long range pokes. Due to this string's long recovery, you can also punish it on whiff with long range strings or projectiles.
  • b1,2 - Launching mid string with the second hit being an overhead, but it's unsafe on block, so stand block and punish it in time. Usually Spawn will do b1 into a projectile, but from further away it doesn't jail, and on smaller characters it never jails. Just like with 3,4, if you read that he won't AMP the projectile or doesn't have meter, be ready to punish him.
    • b1, Raising Hell - Using Raising Hell variation, he can forse you to block low instead of the overhead, and when AMPd, it's completely safe. Luckily, Raising Hell comes out much faster than the overhead, do you can crouch block after first hit and then stand block to cover both options.
  • 2,4,u3,2 - This string is +4 on block but last hit has a gap that makes it unsafe on flawless block. Watch out for the knee animation, then FB and punish.
  • f2 - There are two major strings from f2. Both are minus if completed, and are usually cancelled into a fireball after second hit.
    • f2,1,u2 - A -14 string with minor pushback. Only character with smaller hurtboxes like Joker or Johnny can duck the projectile after f2,1.
    • f2,3,4 - Much more minus at -23. The fireballs coming after f2,3 are always duckable and potentially punishable.
  • ff1,3 - Safe string that you can take your turn after. Any fireball is punishable after it unless AMPd.
  • Forward Throw - Spawn has a unique forward throw that requires him to be in the corner, but gives him a full combo, which hurts a lot. Try to keep this in mind and either tech it or try to duck and punish on a read.


Time to go over the special moves:

  • Soul Shattering War Club - This is a base move and is very unsafe on block unless AMPd, but due to the pushback, you still can't punish it unless you have something like a long range u2/u3 or a fast special like Sub-Zero's slide. It's also an Armor Break move, so you don't want to be using breakaways against Spawn when he has this. 
  • Necro Blast - Spawn's base projectile that shoots a high fireball normally and a followup mid fireball when amplified, which can also be delayed. Some characters have an option of low profiling under the amplified mid fireball to avoid chip damage.
  • Unholy Veil - A high attack and a projectile parry. When it successfully absorbs a projectile, this move becomes a mid that triggers a Krushing Blow launcher. If you know it won't absorb a projectile you can duck and punish. Spawn can use it to cancel other moves but it's never plus, so you can at least take your turn.
  • Fatal Phantasm - A move that restands and gives Spawn plus frames on hit. It is, however, pretty bad on block and recovery, making it punishable. In combos, you could also breakaway and recover before the recovery of Fatal Phantasm, leading to another punish.
  • Charging Hellspawn - Special variation that takes 2 slots and replaces the War Club, meaning you can breakaway just fine. Charge is rarely used on block, but if that happens, make sure to punish it. Due to its long startup and recovery, your breakaways can be very rewarding since you will often wake up before the move fully recovers.
  • (Air) Leetha Glide - Usually only used in combos. Can be air-to-aired and easily anti-aired.
  • Soul Forfeit - Buff that lasts the entire round and removes requirements from Spawn's Krushing Blows but takes away 1 bar of offensive meter until the end of match. Keep in mind that this means his forward throw is a huge threat now, make sure to tech it. If you get launched, breakaway early.
  • Invoking the Legion - Another buff that uses the same slot as Forfeit. This variation does 2 things. It allows Spawn to use Fatal Blow with reduced damage even if he's not low on health. Alternatively, if he's in Fatal Blow range, it will buff the damage by 10%. Underwhelming overall and rarely used.
  • Guns Blazing - Also a rarely used variation. It is an anti-air high projectile that stays high even when amplified, leading to an easy punish. Since it also replaces the base projectile, it harms his offense overall.
  • Blaze of Glory - Two part special. The first part is the low parry that gives a KB if succesful, while second is a low gun shot. The latter is unsafe even if amplified, and is a high on top of that, which means you can duck and punish. It can be made tricky if used as a part of the b1,2 or b1 into special mix-up, but you can fuzzy guard it by blocking high and then low.
  • Hell Chain - High command grab that replaces cape parry special. It whiffs even on crouch block so no need to release the block button. If it does hit, then Spawn can AMP to become invisible. This gives him a mixup, and landing another AMPd Hell Chain will give him a KB. If used as a part of the b1 mixup, once again just fizzy guard high then low.
  • Lethal Leetha Stance - this stance has 3 options:
    • Mid chain attack that can be punished on block.
    • Cancel that has long recovery.
    • Low that's -14 but needs a special like Sub-Zero's slide to punish.


Now that we know about specific moves and counters, let's talk about general strategy:

  • Stay Out of 3,4 Range - Best is to stay further away cause his long range attacks have a lot of recovery. This range is also good for shooting projectiles and outzoning Spawn. Keep in mind he has a projectile parry, but keep in mind that it only parries one hit and loses to low projectiles.
  • Rush Him Down - Alternatively, if you have good counter-pokes and advancing attacks, you can stay in Spawn's face. His movement is great and allows him to force whiffs, but actual close range game is not that good.
  • Bad Special Pokes - Raising Hell is one of the few good low pokes Spawn has and most of the time it's not even equipped.
  • Lacks Fast Mids - This weakness makes him susceptible to being interrupted with fast mids.


Best character to deal with Spawn at long range are characters with long low pokes that can go under 3,4 and good zoning. For example, Frost and Cetrion have solid long range pokes and unparryable projectiles. Both of them can also low profile Spawn's amplified fireball.

Zoners with low profiling properties give Spawn problems as well, such as RoboCop, Noob Saibot, Sindel, Rambo, and Cassie Cage.

For fighting uplcose, it's also useful to have a low profiling hitbox, like The Joker and Johnny, who don't even have to release block to go under Spawn's projectile.

Sub-Zero is the best counterpick overall. He wins zoning with the Ice Ball and even if Spawn parries it, Sub-Zero recovers fast enough to block the followup hit. His slide is an excellent special that goes under fireballs and can punish moves with massive pushback like 3,4. On top of that, with Jumping Axe ability, it becomes really hard for Spawn to anti-air.

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